Jeff Bezos is on a selling spree. Stock disposals by Amazon.com’s founder and CEO over the past week have reached 1.7 million shares, or US$3.45-billion (R51-billion), according to the latest round of regulatory filings. The stock has ticked higher regardless, gaining 9.6% since 30 January, the day before his sales began. The transactions are part of a pre-arranged trading plan.
An Amazon spokesman declined to comment.
That brings Bezos’s total stock sales to more than $13-billion, with the majority occurring in the past four years, according to calculations by Bloomberg. Bezos, 56, said in 2017 that he was selling about $1-billion/year in Amazon stock to fund Blue Origin, his space flight company. The rocket builder has since expanded operations and signalled its first human test flights this year.
Bezos also has been on a shopping spree for art. He was seen walking through the previews at Sotheby’s in November. He reportedly set a record for artist Ed Ruscha at a Christie’s auction the same month with a $52.5-million purchase of “Hurting the Word Radio #2”. Bezos also bought “Vignette 19” by Kerry James Marshall for $18.5-million at Sotheby’s, more than doubling its high estimate. And he has been hunting around for another Los Angeles home, according to agents there.
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The scale of his stock sales including $2-billion in 2017 and $2.8-billion in 2019 partly reflects Amazon’s soaring valuation, which surpassed $1-trillion at the close of trading for the first time on Tuesday. The 1.7 million shares make up such a small portion of his stake in Amazon that he still owns about 11% of the company, worth $114.5-billion.